Central repeats as Caribbean champions

Sharks whip 9-man rivals W Connection 3-0 in 2016 Haiti final

Central FC 3                              W Connection 0
Marcus Joseph 5’
Jason Marcano 83’
Darrren Mitchell 90’+3

​Central FC players and staff celebrate the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship 2016 crown after defeating Trinidadian rivals W Connection 3-0 on May 1 in the final at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Haiti. (Photo courtesy cfufootball.org)

Monday May 2, 2016

Déjà vu! Central FC are once again the champions of the Caribbean after defeating 9-man W Connection 3-0 on Sunday in the 2016 final of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

An early strike from forward Marcus Joseph (5th minute) and late second half items from midfielders Jason Marcano (83rd minute) and Darren Mitchell (90’+3) earned coach Dale Saunders’ “Couva Sharks” victory over Connection, who had two players – striker Shahdon Winchester and defender Alvin Jones – ejected by red cards.

Central made a clean sweep of the awards which included the Fair Play Award; Joseph, Marcano and Mitchell as joint Goldon Boot winners; goalkeeper Javon Sample the Golden Glove; and midfielder Leston Paul the Most Valuable Player.

The “Couva Sharks” also became only the third club in the 18-year history of the Caribbean tournament to successfully defend the title after Trinidadian club Joe Public (1998 & 2000) and Puerto Rico Islanders (2010 & 2011) (both clubs now defunct).

W Connection, who remains the tournament’s most successful club, had an opportunity to level the game before the break but Alvin Jones was denied by Central’s third choice ‘keeper Sample, who was instrumental in the “Couva Sharks” 4-2 penalty shootout win with two saves against Haiti’s Don Bosco FC on Friday in the semi-finals following a 1-1 draw and 120 minutes of play after replacing an injured Akel Clarke in the second half.

Similarly, last season, Connection, had two players sent off in the 2015 final which Caribbean debutants, Central, won 2-1 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad under former coach Terry Fenwick and Saunders as assistant coach.

But like last season, both Trinidadian clubs, Central and Connection, again topped the Caribbean by reaching the 2016 final, securing spots to the Concacaf Champions League for the 2016/17 season.

Don Bosco secured the third and final Caribbean berth at the CCL by defeating Jamaica’s Arnett Gardens 2-0 in the Caribbean Club Championship 2016 third place play-off on Sunday.